Gov. Justice announces completion of $9.5 million in upgrades at Blackwater Falls, Canaan Valley Resort state parks


Governor holds ribbon-cutting to celebrate reopening of Blackwater Falls State Park Lodge after $5.2 million renovation project
DAVIS, WV – Gov. Jim Justice joined West Virginia Department of Tourism Secretary Chelsea Ruby and officials with West Virginia State Parks today for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Blackwater Falls State Park Lodge to celebrate its grand reopening after the completion of a multimillion-dollar renovation project, and to celebrate the completion of several additional major improvement projects at Blackwater Falls and Canaan Valley Resort state parks.
The lodge and other facilities at Blackwater Falls State Park are reopening after the completion of $6.85 million in renovations and improvements – including $5.2 million for the lodge alone.

Canaan Valley Resort State Park is also nearing completion on $2.65 million in upgrades to its facilities.

The combined $9.5 million in projects bring much-needed improvements to Blackwater Falls and Canaan Valley Resort state parks. Upgrades include a completely renovated lodge and cabin upgrades at Blackwater Falls and improvements to the tube park, ski area, cabins, and campground at Canaan Valley Resort State Park.

“What we’re accomplishing in these parks and all of our state parks across West Virginia is truly unbelievable,” Gov. Justice said. “The multiplier effects that these investments are going to bring back to us are off the charts. It’s going to bring in more people who want to visit West Virginia and some of those people will decide that they don’t just want to visit, they want to live here.”
The lodge at Blackwater Falls, which was built in the 1950s, has been updated without changing the personality and charm of the lodge’s original architecture. Guest rooms were refurbished, new suites were added, the lobby and public lounge were renovated, a new gift shop was added, and the Smokehouse Restaurant was remodeled. Other work at Blackwater Falls included renovations to the Blackwater Trading Company gift shop, a new camp store, the construction of a porte-cochère at the lodge, and ADA access improvements to the Sled Run building.

At Canaan Valley Resort, cabins were renovated, tube run lanes were expanded and a new magic carpet was added, the ski rental shop was renovated, and a new ticketing system for skiing was installed. Work is underway on campground and bathhouse expansions.
“The completion of these improvements is proof that Governor Justice’s commitment to our parks and forests is paying off,” Secretary Ruby said. “By modernizing and upgrading our parks and forests, Governor Justice has put the world on notice that Almost Heaven is a first-class travel destination with modern accommodations and incredible outdoor adventures.”

Blackwater Falls and Canaan Valley Resort state parks aren’t the only state parks to receive major upgrades recently.

More than $151 million in improvements have been completed or started at every state park and forest over the past five years.

“I want to thank Governor Justice for following through on his promise to improve our state parks and make them something we can all be proud of,” said West Virginia State Parks Chief Brad Reed. “Thanks to his leadership, our parks and forests are on the verge of being completely modernized so they can be cherished and enjoyed by the next generation.”

“We’re so proud of this facility and thankful for the man responsible for all of these projects: Governor Justice,” said West Virginia State Parks Deputy Chief Brett McMillion. “We’re seeing growth and revitalizations in our parks system that really are unprecedented. We see levels of change that make other states envious of the things we’re doing in West Virginia.
“The Governor’s vision, dedication, and commitment to tourism and parks is something that we all welcome as a change,” McMillion added. “Not so many years ago, those of us who have been in the parks system for years struggled to determine where that funding for the duct tape and band-aids that we used to hold the parks system together was coming from. Now, that’s not the case. We’ve had the opportunity, under this administration’s leadership, to flourish and the results are absolutely amazing.”

“You now have a Governor who has always believed in our parks and tourism,” Gov. Justice said. “At the end of the day, we know how good we are in West Virginia, and we know the beauty that we have and the opportunity that we have. You just needed a leader who supported these opportunities. You needed somebody who was proud enough to say, ‘By god, we’re going to put real money into our parks and we’re going to change the landscape of our state.’ That’s exactly what we’ve done and look what's happened. The outside world is waking up and saying West Virginia is a miraculous state; the diamond in the rough that we all missed.”
Located in the mountains of Tucker County, Blackwater Falls and Canaan Valley Resort state parks are known for four seasons of scenic beauty and a wide range of winter sports, including skiing, tubing, and sledding. To learn more about each park, or to book a trip, visit
Gov. Justice’s vision for WV Tourism paying dividends
Since taking office in 2017, Gov. Jim Justice has invested hundreds of millions of dollars into the state’s tourism efforts. These investments have changed West Virginia’s image in major, unprecedented ways, and we are now reaping the rewards of promoting our state to the world for the first time ever.

Prior to Gov. Justice taking office, the state had seen four consecutive years of decline in traveler spending. Upon taking office, Gov. Justice immediately appointed Chelsea Ruby as Tourism Commissioner. The state’s tourism marketing budget was then tripled and the research-based “Almost Heaven” campaign was launched in early 2018. Since then, the state has seen incredible gains across the board. In the three years following the campaign’s launch, annual traveler spending in the state grew by more than $611 million, reversing the historic decline seen in the previous four years.

​​People are more excited than ever to be in West Virginia. From April 2010 to July 2019, more than 43,000 people moved out of the state. However, from 2020 through 2021, net migration is up in West Virginia for the first time in decades, with over 2,000 people moving into our state, making West Virginia one of the top states in the entire nation that people are moving into on a percentage basis. A recent study found that West Virginia was tied with South Carolina for the top inbound states in 2021. 2021 was the first year West Virginia even made the list.

Additionally, increased investments in the state’s tourism efforts have visitation and intrigue in West Virginia through the roof. Earlier this year, West Virginia was named a top-10 travel region in the world to visit by Lonely Planet; the only state to earn this prestigious distinction. The state was also tapped as a top destination for 2022 by Condé Nast Traveler, Frommers, USA Today and the Huffington Post, in addition to being dubbed one of the World’s Greatest Places by TIME. The state was the only destination to make all of these coveted lists. Just last week, Gov. Justice announced that the Hatfield-McCoy Trail System sold nearly 95,000 trail permits in 2021, which represents the highest number of annual permits ever sold in a single year and the system’s 21st consecutive year of growth in ridership.

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